Avaste Ye! Learn like a Pirate

PirateArr Mateys!  It’s National ‘Talk like a Pirate’ Day!  In honor of the engaging and quite humorous day, we wanted to provide you with a couple of classroom activities to put kids in the pirate spirit of looting ‘treasure’ for their brains …otherwise known as learning.

Elementary/Middle School:

Transform a Poem, Lyric, or Riddle to Have ‘Pirattitude!’

  • Give students a list of commonly used pirate words and phrases along with their definition.  Review them together so students know the audio translation of each word.
  • Have Students choose their favorite nursery rhyme, song lyric, or poem to give ‘pirattitude’ by adding in and replacing some of the original words with pirate terms.  Student should consider which part of speech the word is and use it appropriately.
  • Finally, have students present their work with ‘pirattitude’ to the class.  Encourage them to read it with as much pirate gusto as they can muster up, being as loud and proud as pirates can be!

Middle School/High School:

X Marks the Spot! Teaching maps, landmarks, and legends

  • In good pirate tradition and their sea faring ways, teach students about maps.  How to read them, latitude and longitude, tools located on a map such as the compass, and the geography of the ocean and land.
  • Create a lesson based on different landmarks discussed in pirate legends.  Discuss things like the real location of Treasure Island and the history behind its buried treasure.  Also, highlight the area of the Caribbean, a place commonly associated with pirates.  Give students a comparison of what life was like for a pirate then and what it is like for the people of the Caribbean now.

Other Quick and Easy Activities for Varying Grade Levels:

  • Color your own pirate ship.  On the mast have students fill in each sail with a positive character trait as antithesis to the commonly thought character traits of a pirate.  Use this coloring page printout.
  • Pirates had to find their way at sea but sometimes ran into trouble if they crossed the path of enemy pirates when they sailed in haste without a plan.  Have students complete this maze with a focus on thinking before they move so they don’t come to impassable waters.
  • Lastly, every student loves to walk into class and discover they are watching a movie.  Give yourself a break and watch the blockbuster movie, Pirates of the Caribbean starring Johnny Depp.  As non-historical as parts may be, there is some intrinsic value to the overall legend of the pirates.  (Note: This is only recommended for older and more mature students as the language and content at parts could be questionable.)

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